A Year of Sonnets

January: A Sonnet

By Henry Allen | January 19, 2019
Flickr/Jason Thibault
Flickr/Jason Thibault

When I say “January,” the word evokes different memories and emotions than when I say “April.” Over the course of my career, I’ve written about a range of feelings—relief, despair, the hope and horror of love—in poetry, reporting, and prose. As part of a yearlong series for the Scholar, each month I am contributing a new poem to a sonnet cycle, marking the changing seasons in the rhyme and meter of an Elizabethan sonnet.


As when your ship sails out of sight of land,
and where you are is where you are, as in
a snowbound airport, sleepless, planeless and
the slanting windows twitch in mindless wind.
Or Kansas, Kansas, Kansas from your car.
The sky’s a Midwest diadem of slate,
the fields grind past and there you are and are.
And then! A cattle pond where farm kids skate,
the lisping knock of blades, a pondside fire.
Girls smile, boys flaunt their triumph over cold,
life over death, a riot of desire,
the longing clarity of eyes gone bold.
Love lives. The planes will fly, the ships will sail.
This month endures but you’ll prevail.

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